Pakistan Jails 11-Year-Old Girl With Down Syndrome on Blasphemy Charges

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An 11-year-old Christian girl has been arrested in Pakistani capital on a charge of blasphemy after she was accused of burning pages of the Quran, police said on Saturday.

Officials of Ramna police station said an FIR had been registered against Rimsha Masih, a resident of Umara Jaffar in sector G-12 in Islamabad.

The girl was arrested on Friday by personnel from a women's police station after a man named Syed Muhammad Ummad filed a complaint against her.

However, an NGO named 'Christians in Pakistan' reported on its website that the girl has 'Down Syndrome' and had been falsely accused of burning 10 pages of the Quran.

The NGO said other Christians living in sector G-12 had been "threatened by extremists" who wanted to burn down their village on Friday.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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